Lambda Chi Alpha

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Lambda Chi Alpha
File:Lambda Chi Alpha Coat of Arms.svg
Founded November 2, 1909; 111 years ago (1909-11-02)
Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts
Type Social Fraternity
Scope United States and Canada
Motto Per Crucem Crescens
(Crescent and the Cross)

Χαλεπὰ τὰ καλά
(Naught Without Labor)

Vir Quisque Vir
(Every Man a Man)
Colors Purple, Green, and Gold             
Symbol Cross and Crescent
Flower White rose
Mascot Lion Rampant
Publication Cross and Crescent, Paedagogus, Zeta Zephyr, Purple, Green and Gold
Philanthropy Feeding America
Chapters 194 active, 322 chartered[1]
Members ~11,000[1] collegiate
180,000+[1] lifetime
Headquarters 11711 N. Pennsylvania Street Suite 250
Carmel, Indiana, USA

Lambda Chi Alpha (ΛΧΑ) is a college fraternity in North America, which was founded in 1909. It is one of the largest men's fraternities, having initiated more than 280,000 members[2] with active chapters and colonies at 194 universities.[3] Lambda Chi Alpha was founded by Warren A. Cole, while he was a student at Boston University. The youngest of the fifteen largest social fraternities, Lambda Chi Alpha has initiated the third highest number of men ever, based on NIC statistics. Lambda Chi's National Headquarters is located in Indianapolis, Indiana. Its members are referred to as "Lambda Chis," "LCAs," and "Lambdas." It was a member of the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) until October, 2015.[4]



Lambda Chi Alpha was formed on November 2, 1909 when Warren A. Cole, Percival C. Morse, and Clyde K. Nichols formed a new fraternity by reorganization of the Cosmopolitan Law Club, a society of law students of Boston University, into a Greek letter society. The Greek letter name was not used in the Alpha Zeta minutes until April 27, 1910, the first known time it was recorded.[5]

Cole approached many local groups at colleges and universities throughout the Northeast in hopes of finding others willing to join his new fraternity. Before the acquisition of Lambda Chi Alpha's first functioning chapter, Cole had corresponded with or visited 117 institutions.[6]

Lambda Chi Alpha's first established chapter (Gamma Zeta) was at Massachusetts Agricultural College (MAC) in 1912.[7] Additional chapters followed, and in 1927 Lambda Chi Alpha became an international fraternity with the founding of Epsilon-Epsilon Zeta at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[8]

Theta Kappa Nu

The Theta Kappa Nu fraternity was formed by 11 local fraternities on June 9, 1924 in Springfield, Missouri.

With the help of the National Interfraternity Conference in identifying local groups, and Theta Kappa Nu's policy of granting charters quickly to organizations with good academic standards, the fraternity grew quickly, and had approximately 2,500 initiates in 40 chapters by the end of 1926.[9]


During the Great Depression both Theta Kappa Nu and Lambda Chi Alpha saw membership decrease and chapters shut down. In 1939 The two fraternities merged.[10] The merger ceremony was held at the Howard College (now Samford University) chapter of Theta Kappa Nu in Birmingham, Alabama. The merger increased the number of chapters from 77 to 105[11] (or 78 to 106)[12] and the number of members from 20,000 to 27,000. At the time, this was the largest merger in fraternity history.[11] All Theta Kappa Nu chapters became Lambda Chi Alpha chapters and were given chapter designations that began with either Theta, Kappa or Nu.[13] At schools where chapters of both fraternities previously existed, the two merged and retained Lambda Chi's Zeta recognition.

Membership in the North American Interfraternity Conference

The fraternity was a member of the North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) since its founding in 1909. In October 2015 the fraternity left the NIC, citing in-fighting and dysfunctional governance. The fraternity's exit coincides with NIC lobbying for the Safe Campus Act, which is opposed by both the fraternity and sexual assault advocacy groups.[4][14]

Fraternity education and hazing policy

Beginning in August 1969, the concept of "fraternity education" replaced "pledge education."[15] The fraternity education program was designed to integrate all new members into the chapter equally.[16]

Lambda Chi Alpha formally prohibits hazing of any form, on or off campus, by any of its members. The fraternity's constitution defines hazing as "any action taken or situation created intentionally to produce physical discomfort or mental discomfort by embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule."[17] The fraternity first condemned hazing at a 1928 North-American Interfraternity Conference meeting by Bruce McIntosh.

In 1988, James Callahan, a pledge at Rutgers University died of an alochol overdose participating in a drinking hazing ritual. 15 members of the fraternity were indicted for his death.[18]

In 2013, the fraternity at William and Mary College was shut down due to hazing and alcohol violations.[19]

In 2013, the fraternity at Vanderbilt University was suspended as a result of hazing and alcohol related violations.[20]

In 2015, the fraternity at East Tennessee State University was suspended for five years for hazing pledges, accepting ineligible members, and hosting unauthorized parties with alcohol present.[21]


From 1993 to 2012, Lambda Chi Alpha's philanthropy was the North American Food Drive (abbreviated as NAFD). As of 2010, NAFD had collected around 33 million pounds of food for food banks.[22]

As of July 2012, NAFD was discontinued and rolled into a new partnership with Feeding America.

Notable members


Chapter locations

Chapters of Lambda Chi Alpha exist in most U.S. states and four Canadian provinces.

Chapter naming

Lambda Chi Alpha is atypical in its naming scheme. Unlike most fraternities, the order in which chapters are named is not strictly based on the Greek Alphabet. Instead, chapters of Lambda Chi Alpha are known as "Zetas". Thus, the Alpha-Beta chapter is designated Alpha-Beta Zeta. In addition, at the fraternity's inception, Cole assigned Greek letters to petitioning groups that had not yet been chartered. Not all of these groups were chartered, as a result, the first twenty-two chapters were designated Α, Γ, Ε, Ζ, Ι, Λ, Β, Σ, Φ, Δ, Π, Ο, Μ, Τ, Η, Θ, Υ, Ξ, Χ, Ω, Κ, Ν, Ρ, Ψ. After the twenty-fourth chapter, the sequence was continued with a prefix following the same sequence (Α-Α, Α-Γ, Α-Ε, ... Γ-Α, Γ-Γ, Γ-Ε, ... Ε-A, etc.)

When Theta Kappa Nu merged with Lambda Chi Alpha in 1939, the former Theta Kappa Nu chapters were all given chapter designations prefixed with Θ, Κ, or Ν. The second letter of their chapter name was assigned in the order mentioned above and applied to the chapters in order of their precedence in Theta Kappa Nu. On campuses with chapters of both Lambda Chi Alpha and Theta Kappa Nu, the chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha kept its original designation.

A singular exception, the chapter at Georgia Tech, Β-Κ Zeta, was named in recognition of its existence as a chapter of the national fraternity Beta Kappa, whose other existing chapters merged with Theta Chi in 1942.[23]

Headquarters Locations

Lambda Chi Alpha's founding in Massachusetts in 1909 lead to the location of its first headquarters outside of Boston until after World War I. Later it was moved by members to northeastern Pennsylvania and eventually to Indianapolis, Indiana, where many other Fraternity and Sorority national headquarters are located.[24]

Popular culture

The song Keg in the Closet was written by Kenny Chesney and Brett James, which recalls various details of college life in the late 1980s, including a beer keg which was hidden in the closet at Chesney's house, Lambda Chi Alpha at East Tennessee State University. It is mentioned by name in the line:

"This old guitar taught me how to score... Right there on that Lambda Chi porch"

See also

Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Lambda Chi Alpha Chapter Directory, accessed January 13, 2014.
  2. General Assembly 2006 — State of the Fraternity 2006, accessed 2006.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Kingkade, Tyler (October 27, 2015). "Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity Leaves National Umbrella Group Amid Controversial Lobbying". Huffington Post. Retrieved November 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. History: Founding of Lambda Chi Alpha, accessed April 22, 2010.
  6. Lambda Chi Alpha History Timeline: The Founding of Lambda Chi Alpha
  7. Lambda Chi Alpha History Timeline: Gamma
  8. Lambda Chi Alpha History Timeline
  9. Lambda Chi Alpha History Timeline: Theta Kappa Nu
  10. Lambda Chi Alpha History Timeline: The Union
  11. 11.0 11.1 Bly, Betsy K. (Ed.) (2005). The Paedagogus (50th ed.), p. 146. Indianapolis, Lambda Chi Alpha.
  12. Bly, Betsy K. (Ed.) (2005). The Paedagogus (50th ed.), p. 11. Indianapolis, Lambda Chi Alpha.
  13. Bly, Betsy K. (Ed.) (2005). The Paedagogus (50th ed.), p. 102. Indianapolis, Lambda Chi Alpha.
  14. "Lambda Chi Alpha Resigns Its Membership in the North American Interfraternity Conference (press release)". PR Newswire. October 27, 2015. Retrieved November 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Bly, Betsy K. (Ed.) (2005). The Paedagogus (50th ed.), p. 147. Indianapolis, Lambda Chi Alpha.
  16. Bly, Betsy K. (Ed.) (2005). The Paedagogus (50th ed.), p. 19-20,. Indianapolis, Lambda Chi Alpha.
  17. Constitution and statutory code of the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity Code VI-10
  22. 2010 North American Food Drive Results Cross & Crescent. December 2010. Retrieved 2011-02-04. Archived December 7, 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  23. Leonard, Edward F., George W. McDaniel, Charles S. Peyser (Eds.) (1987). Ritual: What and Why, p. 28. Indianapolis, Lambda Chi Alpha.
  24. Lambda Chi Alpha Headquarters Locations Cross and Crescent, December 2005.
  25. Location of Lambda Chi Alpha headquarters in Swansea, MA
  26. Location of Lambda Chi Alpha headquarters in Kingston, PA
  27. Lambda Chi Alpha headquarters location in Wilkes-Barre, PA
  28. Lambda Chi Alpha headquarters location in Indianapolis, IN
  29. Lambda Chi Alpha headquarters location in Indianapolis, IN
  30. Lambda Chi Alpha headquarters location in Indianapolis, IN
  31. Lambda Chi Alpha headquarters location in Indianapolis, IN
  32. Lambda Chi Alpha headquarters location in Indianapolis, IN
  33. Lambda Chi Alpha headquarters location in Indianapolis, IN

External links